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509 Paphield Battle 2

 In the blink of an eye, hundreds of Lion Legion soldiers were mashed into minced meat.

Everyone was appalled. The heavily-armored soldiers and Knights focused their attention on the mysterious soldiers entirely. Although there wasn't an overwhelming number of mysterious soldiers, their threat to the Lion Legion was far greater than the soldiers from the outpost.

Soon, a sharp whistle screeched and the Knights shifted their positions and charged forward with their mighty swords. Meanwhile, the heavily-armored soldiers pursued closely from the rear to form a triangle formation, launching an assault toward the mysterious enemies.

If the mysterious reinforcements were just ordinary soldiers, this attack would be enough to annihilate all 50 of them. But this wasn't the case because, at this moment, several gray halos descended from the sky and shrouded them completely.

"This is..." Nemo and his troops gawked unbelievably. The Lion Legion were just charging forward a second ago, but now, their movements had become incredibly slow. All of them seemed as though they were carrying a heavy boulder on their backs and almost simultaneously, white radiance emitted from the woods. The Knights wailed as they collapsed from their warhorses and while the soldiers lifted their swords in self-defense, dazzling blade rays emerged and weaved into an enormous net that slashed into them. The mysterious reinforcements regrouped their formation and accelerated forward. In a blink of an eye, their razor-sharp blades punctured the messy formation of the Lion Legion.

"This is the power of the Cleric, Lize." Hidden in the deep woods, Rhode said as he watched the battle from a distance. The dozen of Clerics that Lize led were pale-faced as they gazed at the chaotic battlefield because they didn't have any tactical literacy, let alone experience and understanding of battles. They stared uneasily when Rhode ordered Marfa and others to attack as there were up to 600 enemies from the terrifying legion while Rhode had less than two hundred mercenaries. Not to mention, Rhode had ordered only 50 mercenaries to attack and it seemed too risky for Lize and the Clerics.

However, the next clash left them completely speechless. Even though the Clerics had no experience in battles, this advantageous situation was so obvious that even fools could recognize at a glance. The seemingly powerful and fully armored soldiers collapsed one by one as they couldn't resist Marfa and the mercenaries at all. The enemies apparently had the numbers advantage and yet they couldn't stop 50 mercenaries?

All of this happened after Lize and the Clerics cast an AOE [Slow Curse].

[Slow Curse] was the final spell Clerics learned after entering the Outer Circle and it was the first curse that had an AOE effect. Lize had never thought that such an insignificant spell could be hugely useful in battles.

"This is unbelievable..." The young lady muttered blankly.

On the other hand, Rhode was extremely calm. This was to be expected since the mercenaries had been affected by the special effects of the Sphere of Mystery's [Harvest Field] and their strength had increased rapidly in a short period of time. Most of them were about level 39 now and they had surpassed the standards of the garrison in most areas and they could even compete against the elite army stationed by the borders. Furthermore, Mini Bubble Gum and Canary had even cast [Hidden Space] to create an array of different battlefields to train their PvP abilities. It would truly be a huge failure if they couldn't even defeat these level 25 soldiers.

However, Rhode did have a few regrets. Even though the mercenaries almost reached his level, there were still differences between natives and players. At this moment, Rhode was only about one to two levels above them, but he could defeat 30 of them without any issues. After all, the natives didn't have talent trees and moreover, their skills and damage output had nothing to do with their levels at all. Therefore, they still wouldn't be able to defeat Rhode even if they had transcended into the peak Elite Stage. Besides, Rhode was very clear that this level was perhaps their maximum. Although they were only two levels away from stepping into the Masters Stage, the difficulty of achieving these two levels was as hard as transcending into the heavens. Players could enter the Master or Legendary Stage as long as their EXP hit the requirement and just simply selecting their choice through the system interface. However, it was entirely different for the natives as their road to transcend through the stages was much more dramatic. They were as though the protagonist of a fantasy novel who needed to experience certain miracles or dedicated incidents in order to transcend their strength. Rhode had witnessed this with Lapis and even though Lapis's current level was only 20, her Alchemist skills had reached the pinnacle and such illogical things could only happen on NPCs.

Therefore, Rhode had given his best for these mercenaries to reach this level and other than letting them experience the atmosphere of battles, he could only resign himself to fate and see if any of them had hidden talents that could breakthrough like Lapis and Marlene. If Rhode were lucky, perhaps he could activate a personal quest and transcend the mercenaries into Master Stage.

This wasn't just pure guesswork because the game itself was set in this way. In the later stages of the game, many players had become regional overlords and had many NPCs under them. Sometimes, the player would also find some random, unique NPC quest and they could receive a powerful assistant from it. Rhode remembered that there was this lucky bastard of a player named 'Lecherous King' who became an overlord. He recruited a massive number of female NPCs to become his castle maids and he did nothing but spend all his time surrounded by the female NPCs in the castle. As expected, he was ridiculed by the many envious players. But for some unknown reasons, he managed to activate an individual mission, which involved a little girl. After going through the adventure, the little girl awakened her bloodline and became a Holy White Elf. As a result, the player received the recognition of the Elf Kingdom and he signed a pact that allowed him to hire Elf Archers to defend his territory.

This player's encounters were posted on the forums and there were full of envious and jealous players. The Elf Kingdom was a neutral country and players seldom were able to seek assistance from the Elves. Yet, not only did this 'Lecherous King' managed to secure himself an Elf wife, but he could also hire a harem of Elf ladies. Even Rhode was envious to the utmost degree.

Rhode didn't anticipate that he would meet such wonderful events and he would thank the heavens as long as half of these mercenaries could transcend into the Masters Stage. Of course, it would be even better if they could enter the Legendary Stage instantly. But was this even possible?

Rhode felt that his mercenaries were still lacking in strength. But this was from the perspective of a player.

In the game, players of five different classes and the equal levels could easily wipe out up to a hundred NPCs. This standard clearly exceeded the limits of the natives and due to this, these mercenaries in Rhode's eyes needed to toughen further, gain more experience, and rely on luck. However, in the eyes of the enemies, these 'soldiers' were nothing less than terrifying Demons who brandished their swords and sliced their enemies apart effortlessly. No one could resist their attacks and retaliate because their attacks would be deflected by the translucent barrier.

Nothing was more depressing than being killed and not able to retaliate.

Not only that, but rains of arrows were also released from the deep woods from time to time, and the enemy archers by the rear were killed.

"Retreat! Retreat!" The Lion Legion couldn't hang on any longer. The horn of retreat sounded and the soldiers withdrew frantically. No wonder these soldiers were so frightened. After all, their enemies were too mysterious and nothing was more terrifying than the unknown. Moreover, they had shown overpowering battle abilities and the morale of the Lion Legion soldiers dropped to an all-time low.

"They're bad in everything except escaping." Rhode shook his head. Players in the game hated it the most when the dying monster managed to escape. Much more powerful BOSSes had the self-respect to fight till their deaths, but the normal monsters and NPCs would flee immediately. It was still fine for the long-range players, but close-combat players would be pissed as they needed to give chase to deal the final blow.

But Rhode was prepared for this.

Rhode placed his fingers in his mouth and blew a long, sharp whistle. Marfa ordered his men to stop chasing and they began to sweep the battlefield for loot before regrouping. Then, Rhode led his group out of the woods slowly and shortly after, the miserable garrison approached him carefully.

The Lion Legion had retreated.

Nemo could hardly believe his eyes as he witnessed the enemies vanish into the woods. There was an instant when he wished to drop his sword and simply lie on the ground without a care in the world. But as a professional soldier, he suppressed this thought and scanned the reinforcements cautiously.

As the earlier battle was too intense, Nemo hadn't observed his 'allies' carefully yet. Now that he had calmed down, he realized that these 'allies' were indeed different from what he imagined.

They wore pitch-black armor, capes, and held regular weapons. But Nemo discovered that these regular weapons weren't that ordinary at all. As the sun illuminated the weapons, he observed the flickering reflections on the blades that didn't seem to be from the sun. That was the radiance of magical weapons. Nemo had never seen a team equipped with 50 magical weapons. Even though the Battle Angel Army had plenty of magical weapons too, they were, after all, Angels and it was natural for them to wield incredible weapons. But there weren't wings behind these peoples' backs and they seemed more like mercenaries than Angels.

But I don't remember mercenaries with such organized discipline...

Nemo heard a sharp whistle. The 'allies' stopped their pursuit and began to sweep the battlefield for loot. Shortly after, a black-haired young man dressed in noble attire rode his horse out from the woods slowly, followed by a dozen archers with diagonal bows behind their backs. However, rather than Archers, they seemed more like Rangers. Not only that, Nemo spotted a dozen more Clerics and a young lady who didn't match this bloody battlefield at all. The Clerics followed the black-haired noble closely while another young lady with an enormous shield with her hands behind her head and strolled alongside the Clerics casually.

Noble, Rangers, Shield Warrior, Clerics, and Mercenaries.

What an incredibly strange combination.

Although Nemo felt suspicious, he eventually heaved a sigh of relief and slid his sword back into its sheath. Nemo tidied his tattered clothes before approaching the noble. Since they appeared to be allies, he had to greet them properly in case of any mishap.

Nemo saluted in military-style towards the black-haired noble. "Thank you very much for your assistance. I am Nemo Serat, the Commander of the Cloud Summit Fortress Outpost. We are carrying out our defense mission. May I know who..."

Nemo was startled because this noble appeared to be a beautiful young lady, but 'she' was wearing a black men's attire. What exactly was...

"You're welcome," Rhode nodded slightly. "I am Baron Rhode Alander from Paphield's Land of Atonement. We're abiding by Royal Highness Lydia's order to provide assistance to the Cloud Summit defense line... It seems that we came at the right time?"

"Thank you for your assistance, Mr. Rhode. If it weren't for your help, perhaps our outpost would've fallen into the enemies' hands entirely..."

Nemo heard Rhode's surprisingly deep voice and let out an awkward cough. At this moment, Nemo's troops had arrived by his side and they scanned the reinforcements curiously. The reinforcements were indeed formidable and not only that, the number of delicate young ladies within the team was enough to bless the soldiers' eyes.

"Don't need to thank me. I'm just carrying out my duty as a Munn Kingdom noble. But..." Rhode scanned the patches of blood stains on the wounded soldiers behind Nemo and he reckoned that they must've been through a violent battle. Frankly speaking, Rhode didn't expect a battle here because he thought that the Southern Nobles would prioritize their internal affairs first.

It seemed that they hadn't assembled their forces completely and this was their price to pay for initiating an ambush. Small-scale ambushes could catch the enemy off guard because the enemy wouldn't notice them. However, the lack of manpower was also the fatality of these ambushes, which Rhode derived from their choice to retreat back then. If the Lion Legion had enough manpower, they didn't even need to retreat. The tactic to attack with a sea of people would definitely be advantageous and the fact that they had fled instantly proved that the Southern Legion didn't gather enough soldiers at the moment...

But what were those people thinking about? Since they declared an independent country, there must be uncertainties within their internal department. Instead of appeasing their internal department, the Reformist Party chose to dispatch their soldiers into Paphield hurriedly. Were they trying to take advantage of this favorable situation or did they have other plans up their sleeves?

Rhode knitted his brows before gazing at Nemo. "It seems that your troops are gravely wounded. If you need, I can dispatch my Clerics to treat their injuries. How's that?"

"Thank you so much!" Nemo was overjoyed at the unexpected good news. In fact, he had fixated his eyes on the Cleric young ladies since a while ago. Apart from their youthful, adorable appearance shimmering on this contrastingly bloody battlefield, the Clerics' amazing healing spells were also well known to these military soldiers. The Clerics' treatment would definitely beat the rough military first aid and the soldiers couldn't ask for more to be treated by the beautiful ladies. Rhode turned around and beckoned for Lize and shortly after, all the Clerics strode over. Honestly, even though the young ladies had been through numerous battles, they still weren't used to the bloody battlefields. Compared to looking at the corpses, they were better off treating the humans who were still alive.

Rhode turned his gaze to the other side after Nemo led Lize's group to the nearby outpost to treat the casualties. It was a total silence. "Joey, how's the situation?"

On the other side, a skinny figure emerged from the soulless ground. Joey pulled down his camouflage hoot and greeted. "Just as you've predicted, Boss. Those losers got away fast and we spent some time chasing up with them. They didn't have the intentions to retaliate and they continued escaping to the riverside. I guess they are planning to set up camp there."

"River?" Rhode twitched his brows. "The Dawn River?"

"Yes, Boss," Joey replied firmly.

I see.

Rhode let out a snort. Moments ago, he was still wondering why the Reformist Party stirred up trouble that quickly and now he finally understood what they were up to after listening to Joey's report. But, that's fine too. At least those people won't dare to attack the Cloud Summit Fortress for now.

Rhode lifted his chin and gazed at the mountain range on the other side.

Even though the current situation was looking grim for the Cloud Summit, it was a pity that Rhode didn't come here just to defend against the enemies.